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6th District cleared for criminal jury trials

Having developed the requisite social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions, courts in the state’s 6th Judicial District courts have been permitted to restart criminal jury trials.

That raises by four the number of counties cleared to hold criminal jury trials. At last check in late June, six counties were already holding criminal jury trials.

The Judicial Council recently gave the 6th clearance to restart criminal jury trials, having determined that the District’s courts would adhere to the Judicial Branch’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and other requirements.

The Branch’s strict guidelines address changes to facilities and protocols that must be followed to meet social distancing and safety needs. They were developed with the Minnesota Department of Health.

“Our goal is to fulfill our obligation to administer justice, while protecting the health of our community members who are exercising and performing their duties, responsibilities and rights in our courthouses,” District Chief Judge Michael Cuzzo said in a press release.

“The most basic characteristic of an American jury trial—fairness to all participants—will be the same as ever,” he said.

We weren’t able to determine by deadline if more counties are conducting criminal jury trials besides the 10 known to have satisfied the Judicial Branch’s pandemic protocols.

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